Tonight we are going to discuss how to not be a meathead. Most of this stuff you learn in the first 6 months of open mat, or you learn it after a few competitions, or you find someplace on the internet that sorta-kinda goes over it. I’m going to give you the short version that I had to learn over the course of years on the mat and dozens of competition matches.
First and foremost, we are going to cover the hierarchy of positions so that you know how to move up the ladder of superiority. There are lots of options for transitioning, but what’s more important for the fundamentals student is to understand why and when they should transition to a better position, or even transition to what seems at first a technically inferior position. When it comes to meathead moves, I’m going to go over two of the cardinal sins of jiu-jitsu. A) trying submissions before position, and B) willingly placing yourself in an inferior position. These are two of many positional mistakes that reveal you as a beginner very quickly.
Second, we are going to cover the offensive/defensive mindset and when you need to be in each mode. This is something that I’ve gone over quite a bit lately in open mat with sparring partners in between rolls.
Next, we are going to cover energy expenditure. I have to imagine most of my students have had this lecture from me at one time or another, but I know it’s easy to forget or misjudge.
Finally, if there’s time, I’m going to discuss some of the things I worry about when I’m rolling. Those of you that roll with me know that I will be passive at first, then amp it up as needed. When it’s clear I need to worry about what’s being done, the highest compliment I can pay you is when I go into competition mode. When it’s a competition match, it’s 100 amps, 50,000 volts right from the get go. Yet even then, there are opportunities to be efficient and to conserve energy without letting up the attack pressure. So I’ll do my best to show you how to force me into competition mode, and what to expect when that happens. Your goal should always be to force the other person into competition mode, unless you are flow rolling or have some other reasonable arrangement in place.
This may very well bleed into the next class. Brain training is critical to your fundamentals education, so I wouldn’t feel at all bad covering this over two hours. Actually, when I put it like that, I’m not sure two hours is enough. I’ll see what I can do.
For my more advanced students that might think you don’t need this because you already know it, your task is to learn how to explain this to someone else. You also need to make sure there aren’t any gaps in your understanding. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve learned fundamentals from a different black belt and picked up some small detail that nobody else taught. It’s one of the reasons I really enjoy going to white belt/fundamentals seminars or classes at other schools.